Chow Bella

Aaron May Heads Kitchen at Former Renegade Canteen, Now Called Renegade Tap + Kitchen

See also: Chef Robert McGrath Leaves Renegade Canteen See also: Aaron May's Praying Monk Opens as Vitamin T Closes

When Robert McGrath flew the coop at Renegade Canteen last fall, he left a celebrity chef void in the kitchen. But that's been filled in recent weeks by Chef Aaron May, the brains and star-power behind Praying Monk, Mabel's on Main and a string of other popular Arizona restaurants and bars.

In late July, a new Renegade ownership group, which includes partners Ed Leclere and Ryan Field, changed the name to Renegade Tap and Kitchen, warmed up the decor, added TVs and brought in May to update the menu, which still contains elements of the Western-inspired offerings in place under McGrath's tutelage.

The green chile pork stew remains, although May says he's tweaked it a bit. He's also added dishes such as crispy skin salmon with roasted beets, asparagus and wilted arugula and grilled ribeye with jalapeño-cheddar grits and roasted vegetables. May describes the offerings as "Southwestern Comfort Food."

I love the sound of smoked trout with creme fraiche, green onion and pickled shallot with toast points (an appetizer) as well as entree of pan-roasted duck breast with braised red cabbage, mustard spaetzle and jus.

Meanwhile, the beer program has been upgraded and improved. The restaurant's 16 tap handles now feature craft brews from Colorado, Oregon and other well-known brewing states. You'll also find an upscale Michelada as well as interesting tequilas and whiskeys that echo the Southwestern theme.

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Nikki Buchanan